ESA Validates Conceptual Jet-Rocket Hybrid Engine

ESA Validates Conceptual Jet-Rocket Hybrid Engine

While still some way off, the new SABRE engine technology could allow travel to anywhere on earth in four hours.

Bringing us one giant leap closer to commercial space travel, UK-based Reaction Engines Ltd has recently had the European Space Agency(ESA) verify the viability of their SABRE (Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine) engine technology. After two decades of research, Reaction Engines executive, Tim Hayter, told a London press conference, "We have made the biggest breakthrough in propulsion technology since the jet engine." This is a bold claim, but given the ESA's response to the technology, it may be spot on.

Current technology uses partially reusable multi-stage launch vehicles, which are quite expensive to create, and portions of which are discarded after a single use. The SABRE-powered SKYLON, however, should be able to circumvent many of those expenses thanks to the hybrid engine, which can operate both in the atmosphere as a regular jet engine travelling upwards of mach 5, or in space as a traditional rocket. "In the past, attempts to design single stage to orbit propulsion systems have been unsuccessful largely due to the weight of an on-board oxidiser such as liquid oxygen, needed by conventional rocket engines," states the Reaction Engines website. The SABRE approach to this problem is to use the oxygen present in the atmosphere, much like existing jet engines. SABRE is apparently the first engine to do this, "This approach enables SABRE-powered vehicles to save carrying over 250 tons of on-board oxidant on their way to orbit," continues the REL website, "and removes the necessity for massive throw-away first stages that are jettisoned once the oxidant they contain has been used up."

While the technology has been deemed sound by the ESA, the reality is that SKYLON still only exists on paper, and is years away from construction. Reaction Engines is currently looking for an additional $400 million in funding over the next 10 years to continue development. While this seems like an exorbitant sum of money, Hayter has estimated the value of the global space market at $300 billion, eclipsing the SABRE funding goal.

Source: CNN

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Wow... that took a long time to get here...

Some one with the science knowledge can maybe give me some answer on this. But if Space travel becomes a regular thing how will they deal with the Gs on people who don't have the training to deal with them. Will people just pass out every time they leave orbit.

Eric the Orange:
Some one with the science knowledge can maybe give me some answer on this. But if Space travel becomes a regular thing how will they deal with the Gs on people who don't have the training to deal with them. Will people just pass out every time they leave orbit.

I don't think they're aiming for geosynchronous orbit. I think they're aiming for low earth orbit, which is easier to get to and easier to recover from. If done right, there wouldn't be much need for G training.

vxicepickxv:

Eric the Orange:
Some one with the science knowledge can maybe give me some answer on this. But if Space travel becomes a regular thing how will they deal with the Gs on people who don't have the training to deal with them. Will people just pass out every time they leave orbit.

I don't think they're aiming for geosynchronous orbit. I think they're aiming for low earth orbit, which is easier to get to and easier to recover from. If done right, there wouldn't be much need for G training.

The most G force occurs during reentry but you can use a skip rentry to minimize the forces. Launch is not a problem since the Saturn V pulled a maximum of 4 G's during ascent. For comparison the gravitron fairground ride pulls 3

Sure they could get you anywhere on earth in 4 hours, but you'd spend another 4 being fondled by the TSA.

I've seen the vehicle these will attach to. Reaction Engines, please do me a favor and take my money.

I remember reading up on this one a few years ago, I sincearly hope it ends better than the original Skylon did.

image
Because I could easily see Cameron calling it a "Monument to Socialism" and ordering it destroyed. Nutjob.

This acronym thing is getting out of hand.
When I saw the title, I had recently marathoned the Jimquisition, and he talks about the Entertainment Software Association a decent amount, so when I saw the title, I wondered what the hell this had to do with Entertainment Software.
Reminds me of this:
image

So.. a new Kickstarter project then?

Since the capitalist US decided it didn't want to play in the space race against the communist Russia any more, I suppose it's up to the socialist EU to take up the responsibility. Well, not like the US is scientifically competitive any more anyway.

This is one of those things that sounds really obvious after being pointed out -- why did nobody think of a rocket engine that uses oxygen from the atmosphere until it clears it before? It almost makes me wonder if there's some major flaw with the idea that these engineers either think they've overcome, or haven't thought of yet. I hope it does work out -- single stage to orbit shuttles have always been one of my favorite parts of near future sci-fi. There's just something really cool about the idea of in system space flight being no more unusual than taking a plane to another country.

Owyn_Merrilin:
This is one of those things that sounds really obvious after being pointed out -- why did nobody think of a rocket engine that uses oxygen from the atmosphere until it clears it before? It almost makes me wonder if there's some major flaw with the idea that these engineers either think they've overcome, or haven't thought of yet. I hope it does work out -- single stage to orbit shuttles have always been one of my favorite parts of near future sci-fi. There's just something really cool about the idea of in system space flight being no more unusual than taking a plane to another country.

The issue has always been the form the air arrives in, it needs cooling and compressing to be useful in such an engine. Normally this process would result in catastrophic icing and the failure of the engine from this icing. Skylons engine and its precooler appear to have overcome this issue.

Edit: In short the idea is far from new, but it has always been behind this icing barrier. Obvious solutions are often blocked by seemingly tiny issues that are non the less able to completely de-rail a plan. Once you solve the blocking issue then you may well have a much clearer path, not guaranteed but allowing you to make progress on things that relied on this part working to test.

Eric the Orange:
Some one with the science knowledge can maybe give me some answer on this. But if Space travel becomes a regular thing how will they deal with the Gs on people who don't have the training to deal with them. Will people just pass out every time they leave orbit.

The main aim for these type of vehicles is to produce an unnamed reusable satellite launcher rather than a super fast passenger transport, at the moment. There is no way round the 3g force during the acceleration phase so its not something you can treat like normal air transport. Any passengers would have to have medical checks and the flight itself would not be that comfortable. Also any sub orbital flight is inherently more dangerous than normal aircraft. Civil aircraft are built to a standard where you have to carry mitigation for any risk under 12 million to 1, the space shuttle was built to a standard of 1 million to 1 (in fact the risks worked about 500-1).

vxicepickxv:
I don't think they're aiming for geosynchronous orbit. I think they're aiming for low earth orbit, which is easier to get to and easier to recover from. If done right, there wouldn't be much need for G training.

Eric is talking about the force applied by acceleration to orbit which needs to be around 3 times the force of gravity.

Denamic:
Since the capitalist US decided it didn't want to play in the space race against the communist Russia any more, I suppose it's up to the socialist EU to take up the responsibility. Well, not like the US is scientifically competitive any more anyway.

Reaction Engines Ltd is a private company spending private money on research and development. All the EU has done is given the engines a safety certificate without which its impossible to test the engines in flight.

albino boo:
Reaction Engines Ltd is a private company spending private money on research and development. All the EU has done is given the engines a safety certificate without which its impossible to test the engines in flight.

Them being a private company doesn't really make them any less European.
Also, there's a difference between the EU and Europe.

Denamic:

albino boo:
Reaction Engines Ltd is a private company spending private money on research and development. All the EU has done is given the engines a safety certificate without which its impossible to test the engines in flight.

Them being a private company doesn't really make them any less European.
Also, there's a difference between the EU and Europe.

Yes but it makes them a capitalistic company doing something for profit. Incidentally the US air force already has a vehicle working on this principle in test flights. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-51

Denamic:

albino boo:
Reaction Engines Ltd is a private company spending private money on research and development. All the EU has done is given the engines a safety certificate without which its impossible to test the engines in flight.

Them being a private company doesn't really make them any less European.
Also, there's a difference between the EU and Europe.

Being Europeans doesn't make them any less capitalist. A private company looking to make money by taking other companies stuff to space, sounds fairly capitalist to me.

albino boo:

Denamic:

albino boo:
Reaction Engines Ltd is a private company spending private money on research and development. All the EU has done is given the engines a safety certificate without which its impossible to test the engines in flight.

Them being a private company doesn't really make them any less European.
Also, there's a difference between the EU and Europe.

Yes but it makes them a capitalistic company doing something for profit. Incidentally the US air force already has a vehicle working on this principle in test flights. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-51

X-51 is a scramjet, nothing to do with skylons flight model.

Skylon is a single engine designed to use a single stage to run to orbit. The x-51 scramjet is a single mode engine that would require another two stages for an out of atmos launch, or one to get it to an in Atmos height, as it doesn't work at sub-sonic speeds.

Petromir:

albino boo:

Denamic:

Them being a private company doesn't really make them any less European.
Also, there's a difference between the EU and Europe.

Yes but it makes them a capitalistic company doing something for profit. Incidentally the US air force already has a vehicle working on this principle in test flights. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-51

X-51 is a scramjet, nothing to do with skylons flight model.

Skylon is a single engine designed to use a single stage to run to orbit. The x-51 scramjet is a single mode engine that would require another two stages for an out of atmos launch, or one to get it to an in Atmos height, as it doesn't work at sub-sonic speeds.

Yeah its not like they are building a test bed to see how air intakes work at high speeds or how heat shielding works at high temperatures or anything. They are using is as validation for the mathematical model for use in project falcon. Project Falcons long term goal is to produce a working spaceplane. The next step is the HTV-3X http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog:27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7&plckPostId=Blog:27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post:c7c40d1a-4bb2-4653-8dd9-40b6d05de309

Petromir:

Owyn_Merrilin:
This is one of those things that sounds really obvious after being pointed out -- why did nobody think of a rocket engine that uses oxygen from the atmosphere until it clears it before? It almost makes me wonder if there's some major flaw with the idea that these engineers either think they've overcome, or haven't thought of yet. I hope it does work out -- single stage to orbit shuttles have always been one of my favorite parts of near future sci-fi. There's just something really cool about the idea of in system space flight being no more unusual than taking a plane to another country.

The issue has always been the form the air arrives in, it needs cooling and compressing to be useful in such an engine. Normally this process would result in catastrophic icing and the failure of the engine from this icing. Skylons engine and its precooler appear to have overcome this issue.

Edit: In short the idea is far from new, but it has always been behind this icing barrier. Obvious solutions are often blocked by seemingly tiny issues that are non the less able to completely de-rail a plan. Once you solve the blocking issue then you may well have a much clearer path, not guaranteed but allowing you to make progress on things that relied on this part working to test.

Thanks for the explanation. I figured there had to be something like that preventing it from being done earlier -- I just had no idea what. Let's hope this means they really do have it ironed out :D

albino boo:

Petromir:

albino boo:

Yes but it makes them a capitalistic company doing something for profit. Incidentally the US air force already has a vehicle working on this principle in test flights. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-51

X-51 is a scramjet, nothing to do with skylons flight model.

Skylon is a single engine designed to use a single stage to run to orbit. The x-51 scramjet is a single mode engine that would require another two stages for an out of atmos launch, or one to get it to an in Atmos height, as it doesn't work at sub-sonic speeds.

Yeah its not like they are building a test bed to see how air intakes work at high speeds or how heat shielding works at high temperatures or anything. They are using is as validation for the mathematical model for use in project falcon. Project Falcons long term goal is to produce a working spaceplane. The next step is the HTV-3X http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog:27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7&plckPostId=Blog:27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post:c7c40d1a-4bb2-4653-8dd9-40b6d05de309

Still nothing like Skylons idea. It may well the same end goal, but a completely different way of doing it, almost as different in execution to each other as they are to the Shuttle.

Conventional Jet engines and set of engines that run first as ramjets then as scram jets, still not one engine type for the entire flight is it?

Petromir:

albino boo:

Petromir:

X-51 is a scramjet, nothing to do with skylons flight model.

Skylon is a single engine designed to use a single stage to run to orbit. The x-51 scramjet is a single mode engine that would require another two stages for an out of atmos launch, or one to get it to an in Atmos height, as it doesn't work at sub-sonic speeds.

Yeah its not like they are building a test bed to see how air intakes work at high speeds or how heat shielding works at high temperatures or anything. They are using is as validation for the mathematical model for use in project falcon. Project Falcons long term goal is to produce a working spaceplane. The next step is the HTV-3X http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog:27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7&plckPostId=Blog:27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post:c7c40d1a-4bb2-4653-8dd9-40b6d05de309

Still nothing like Skylons idea. It may well the same end goal, but a completely different way of doing it, almost as different in execution to each other as they are to the Shuttle.

Conventional Jet engines and set of engines that run first as ramjets then as scram jets, still not one engine type for the entire flight is it?

Small point the Sabre engine works as a jet engine, then a ramjet and then a pure rocket. At take off it acts like jet engine with a compressor fan pushing air into the combustion chamber and burnt with hydrogen. At higher speeds it changes function to a ramjet and finally a pure rocket. Its the same concept but a with a more complex engine. This is a higher risk than the less complex US design. However the US have engines flying as part of a funded development programme whereas Skylon is just a design with no funding. The US are at least 5-10 years ahead and I doubt with 1/2 of Europe being in perma recession the sabre engine will ever fly.

Souplex:
This acronym thing is getting out of hand.
When I saw the title, I had recently marathoned the Jimquisition, and he talks about the Entertainment Software Association a decent amount, so when I saw the title, I wondered what the hell this had to do with Entertainment Software.
Reminds me of this:
image

What's better than Pandas?

Pandas WWF. Picture saved, thanks

Its nice to see some progress back on space race. i was afraid that with rest of the world standing still it wont be long till china pulls rank over us, but it seems that we can still have an edge. and if this works, huge economical edge.

P.S. capcha: done that. it seems that capcha is a scientist.

 

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